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If you've been following along with our weekly Mock Monitor, you may have noticed an absence lately of a particular name that was somewhat intriguing a month ago.
Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph was projected by one of our sampled mocks to be the Falcons' pick at the No. 27 spot last month, but that has since changed as prognosticators have focused more on defensive end, offensive tackle or cornerback for Atlanta in the first round.
But Rotoworld.com's Evan Silva tweeted some comments from NFL Network's Mike Mayock on Wednesday that suggest Rudolph may still very well be a strong option for the Falcons in the first round.
Here's Silva's tweet:
Before you totally freak out, think about how this works. I've said it a million times: There are so many possible scenarios that can occur before the Falcons go on the clock at No. 27. That's one of the downfalls of picking so late, so the guys in the war room will be prepared for anything.
Let's say all the defensive linemen the Falcons have targeted are off the board and maybe one or two wide receivers are still there, but they're sure they will still be around when the Falcons pick in the second round at No. 59 overall. There sits Rudolph, a big, strong, pass-catching tight end with loads of potential.
Granted, tight end isn't an immediate need with veteran Tony Gonzalez deciding to come back for at least one more season, but you have to assume at 35 years old that the seasons left for him are minimal. Gonzalez has been an integral part of the offense since he was brought in and he's been one of Matt Ryan's favorite targets.
Therefore, when Gonzalez does decide to hang up the cleats, you want to have another tight end that can be as productive waiting in the wings for his chance. That's where Rudolph makes a lot of sense.
If the Falcons do end up taking Rudolph, I urge those of you who are unsure about such a pick to look at the big picture. Think about two or three years from now. Yes, there are positions that can use some help right now, but the great thing about this year's draft class is that the positions of need are awfully, awfully deep. Great value and talent can be had in the second, third and fourth rounds.
Rudolph is easily the best available tight end in the draft this year and could be an incredible weapon for Ryan down the line. Think Jason Witten for Tony Romo or Owen Daniels for Matt Schaub.
If it comes down to Rudolph, you don't solve an immediate need, but you satisfy an area that will eventually become an immediate need. By doing that, you can pick for luxury down the line.
So, if this is the pick, I would totally understand the reasoning behind it. But I can also see the other side of it.
The Falcons have never drafted a tight end in the first round in the history of the franchise. Even an extremely productive tight end doesn't always get close to wide receiver numbers in the box score. Plus, with Gonzalez coming back for the 2011 season, Rudolph doesn't get much of a chance to contribute right away.
This, probably more than any other, would be a polarizing scenario for Falcons fans to face. You either love it or you hate it.
So tell us. Vote below.